Written Gems: The Real Miracle

One day, in a place not too far from you, there will live two ordinary children. They do what children are supposed to do: play, learn, and grow up. Some day, those two children will lock gazes across the campus green, go on their first date, and slowly, hesistantly, all of a sudden, they will do something miraculous: they will fall in love.

But the real miracle here wasn’t that they fell in love. That was inevitable after thousands of hours of conversations, hundreds of laughs, and tears, and hugs, dozens of oportunities to grow together, and one last first kiss.

No.

The real miracle here is that he is there to see her across the campus green, even though they’ve told him that he doesn’t belong here because of the colour of his skin or the shape of his eyes or the lack of money in his bank account. Instead, he took out a loan and ignored all the whispers.

The real miracle here is that she’s across the campus green for him to see, even though they’ve told her that girls aren’t smart enough to learn anything besides what will make them good mothers, never mind what will make them good people. Instead, she pursued her passion, submitted that application, and said yes.

The real miracle here is that he got the courage to ask her out, even though they told him no girl wants to date a nice guy. Instead, he thinks nothing ventured, nothing gained, and about how pretty she is and how much he likes the book she’s holding.

The real miracle here is that she had the courage to say yes, even though they told her that no guy wants to date a smart girl. Instead, she thinks nothing ventured, nothing gained, and that he’s kind of cute and has good taste in books.

The real miracle here is that he showed up at all, even though they told him that he should be ashamed of not being buff and tall and Matthew McConnaughy. Instead, he wears a clean shirt and jeans that don’t smell, and leaves early so he isn’t late.

The real miracle here is that she showed up at all, even though they told her that she should be ashamed of not being busty and slender and Meghan Fox. Instead, she wears the dress she bought yesterday and a pair of funky earrings, and leaves early so she isn’t late.

The real miracle here is that he admitted a deep, abiding love for geekdom, even though they tell him that if there’s no violence or no blood, or any brainwork involved, it’s not a manly thing to do. Instead, he finds a world to escape to.

The real miracle here is that she agreed, even though they tell her that she can’t like things that are for boys. Instead, she finds the world to escape to.

The real miracle here is that he took her to a pizza joint, even though they tell him to take her somewhere to impress her, nevermind if he can afford to. Instead, he takes her to his favourite place in town with the best pepperoni, run by the friendliest people who treat them as a son.

The real miracle here is that she can insist on covering when he forgets his wallet, even though they tell her that she’s not supposed to have money, it’s not feminine, and any way, women belong at home and in the kitchen. Instead, she takes pride in her independence, and can spring for two slices of pizza.

The real miracle here is that he still has the courage to text her afterwards, even though they tell him that the size of his male instrument is proportional to the number of zeros on his bank account. Instead, he takes it as an opportunity to ask her out again.

The real miracle here is that she will respond instantly, even though they tell her that she should wait and not look so desparate. Instead, they have a conversation that lasts until the sun comes up – the first of many.

The real miracle here is that he will continue to be fascinated with her, even though they tell him that women are a game, and he’s already scored with this one. Instead, he discovers his inspiration that will last a lifetime.

The real miracle here is that she has the courage to tell him about her older sister, who couldn’t stop listening to what they said, even though they said it was her own fault, that she took her own life. Instead, she finally finds peace for a little while.

The real miracle here is that he reaches across to take her hand, even though they tell him that he is not supposed to feel, that his heart is stone. Instead, it aches for the girl who lost her hero.

The real miracle here is that he and she agreed with them, that he identified as a male and she identified a female. Instead, they could’ve been telling she and she, or he and he that they were monsters, aberrations that didn’t deserve what little happiness there was in the world.

The real miracle here is not that he and she fall in love, the real miracle here is that he and she still have the capacity to fall in love, despite everything they say.

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Foxy Insights: On New Years Resolutions

I decided to stay in for New Years Eve, this year, and do some good, long thinking. While I love a good party as much as the next person, I’m tired and alone in a new city, and you know what? No excuses – I just don’t feel like it. So here I am. I just finished unpacking my life out of my suitcase and into a closet (or at least it feels like one – lucky I’m not claustrophobic!). It’s starting to look more like me, down to the balls of yarn on my floor. I’ll have a nice long roam tomorrow and celebrate the new year with a morass of people I don’t know (because I prefer hung over strangers to drunk ones), but tonight is for thinking.

New Years resolutions are a tricky business. I don’t think it makes any sense to store up resolutions just to save for this day, because if it’s something that needs fixing, then fix it right away. I think we should always be watchful and employ careful introspection. That being said, sometimes markers in the sands of time are a good thing, so we don’t get swept away by the flow of time.

So, at this giant marker in time, December 31st, 2014, I’ll make my first resolution. I will spend more time being consciously mindful of what I do. I will set resolutions at the beginning, and I will retrospect at the end.

So, since it’s the end of the year, I should retrospect, at least a little. 2014 was not my most successful year, if you want to measure my years against one another. As silly and arbitrary as the scale seems, the statement rings true to me. Yes, it was very fulfilling on a relationship level, but it wasn’t that fulfilling on a professional, personal, or interpersonal level. Considering the disaster that was 2013, however, I will take it – not falling totally flat on my face is an improvement.

But I can do better than recover in 2015. So, 2014, you were my baby step, my stumbling block, my getting back on the horse after breaking every single bone in three places. 2015, leggo.

So, one resolution down, and all the other ones to think about.

It’s really not easy to come up with resolutions, but I think there’s one thing I can definitely can say. I don’t want to be a whole new person in 2015. I’ve put 20-odd years of work into the person I have been, and I rather like her, weaknesses and flaws, strengths and talents alike. So, let’s chuck out the whole nonsense about being a whole new person in 2015 – I don’t want to start 2015 as a fraud.

I try to practice the fix it when it’s broken philosophy, so I already have some resolutions that I made in 2014 and now I’m doing my best to stick to. I’m trying to lose weight, by watching more carefully what I eat, controlling my portions, and going to the gym more regularly. I’m trying to be more financially savvy, by considering what purchases I really need, delaying purchases by at least a week to avoid impulse buys, and by actually looking at my credit card bill every month. I gave blood, I’m getting more organized (in fits and starts) and I’ve made a conscious decision to take care of my appearance and take pride in looking good, not out of insecurity but out of growing up.

That tends to cover a lot of the standard New Years Resolutions that silly web articles push in your face. Two of some of the more popular ones have been Elite Daily’s resolutions for 20 somethings (I think the article and the website are both full of condescending pap) and Buzzfeed’s real list of resolutions for 20 year olds, which is a little more sensible but also fairly standard. So they’re no help – I’ve already got those bases covered.

Instead, I think I’m going to turn to my list of things I want to be, and draw strength and ideas for that. It was inspired by a  quotation (probably by the zen quotation goblins who lurk in the bowels of the internet and slap random people’s names on it)

When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.

This is my list:

  1. Happy and Content
  2. Leader, CEO, Role Model
  3. Competant, Knowledgeable, Aware
  4. Charitable, Kind, Understanding, but not Naive
  5. A Mother that my kids will fight over who will have me for Christmas
  6. Constant Friend, Valuable Associate, and Good Networker
  7. Personable, Socialable, and Articulate
  8. Artist, Author, Creator and Designer
  9. Never complacent, never done learning

Meditating on that, I think I have a few more solid ideas of more resolutions for the new year. So, in no particular order:

  • I will continue making more specific resolutions at the beginning of the month, week, and day, and I will reflect at the end of each of them.
  • I want to stop feeling guilty about taking time to embroider, to write, to crochet or knit, or to just game, but I want to put a better fence around those activities, so they don’t take time that I should be focusing on my studies.
  • I already said I wanted to be more organized, so to elaborate on that, I’ll resolve to have the foresight to plan and block off my time more effectively and the willpower to stick to that plan.
  • I will make five more professional contacts, and I will renew five professional contacts that I have already made
  • I will donate time to a soup kitchen, and I will donate blood
  • I will finish at least one actuarial exam this year, and be studying for a second by the end of the year
  • I will take three courses, through school or Coursera, that are purely for my academic interest.
  • I will hang out with someone who is not my significant other at least once a week
  • I will write for ten minutes a day, every day.

That feels like a lot. Maybe it’s too much, but I won’t know until I try. I will do it, though. 2015, I am ready for you now.

Happy New Years all!

Foxy Insights: What Makes a Student

Iron enough to make a nail,
Lime enough to paint a wall,
Water enough to drown a dog,
Sulphur enough to stop the fleas,
Potash enough to wash a shirt,
Gold enough to buy a bean,
Silver enough to coat a pin,
Lead enough to ballast a bird,
Phosphor enough to light the town,
Poison enough to kill a cow

This is a verse I first read in Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (very much worth a read), called “These are the Things that Make a Man.” It refers to the spirit of Winter, who searches for these things because he’s fallen in love with the protagonist, Tiffany Aching. He wants to be a human so he can court a human. However, all this creates is a body, not a human. The Wintersmith has just the trappings of humanity, not the substance.

I feel like society has its own version of this list, a list of things that make a successful person, like:

Money enough to live in style,
Sex enough to brag about,
Face enough to take a picture,
Body enough to be a model,
Friends enough to never be alone,
Power enough to be invincible,
Personality enough to be unique,
Confidence enough to be an ass.

Something like that. Pretty much all the marketing, all the messaging, all the social conditioning that surrounds us tells us to want this ideal, and exists to help us achieve it. Nearly all industries are out to help us become a successful person, provided we conform to their idea of successful. It’s overwhelming, and nauseating if you think about it, which is why we try not to. But just like the Wintersmith, this list is only the trappings of success. Success is a complex concept that is twisted with happiness, honed by maturity, and unique to each individual, but it’s hard to pursue uniqueness. So society simplifies success, and people pursue the wrong thing, out of fear of failure.

I see this a lot in university, where people use their grades to approximate their future success. You have a 90+ average? You’re golden. An 80 will still probably get you places. 70s you start the worry and 60s, you really start to panic. Failing means you’ve failed as a human being, because you’re never going to be successful in life with a fail on your university transcript. Or at least that’s how the story goes.

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog before, you might remember that I failed before. Even if you haven’t, you can still see how ridiculous the story is from an emotional distance, but to the kids who face failure for the first time in their lives, it’s their reality. I see it a lot, especially in academically rigorous programs that have really incredible alumni and a reputation for being tough. That panic, that fear, is part what’s going through their head when they’re facing down the first 60 or 50 or 40 or 30 or 20 or whatever.

It’s not just the students, either. We, as a society, have put too much emphasis on marks to simplify the narrative, to make it glamorous, to make it a story. After all, no one wants to read the thousand rags to rags stories when there’s one rags to riches story. It’s lead to this delusion that good jobs are equal to marks, marks are proportional to effort, so if a student works hard enough, they should get a good job. As a result, students feel entitled to be rewarded for process and not results. Anyone who’s worked a real job knows that results, not process matters, which I think, is the only real lesson to be had from taking grades so seriously. But using them to measure a person? It’s like telling someone that all 6″2′ blond guys with blue eyes are equally attractive (which they’re not).

Don’t get me wrong, aside from teaching and storing a lot of information, universities still will sculpt good corporate citizens. It’s not as hand holdy as high school, which is scary, but in the end, university still provides plenty of support for fledgling adults that doesn’t exist in the real world. The classes give structure to learning that doesn’t exist in the workplace. The tests check if you know how to use a concept or an idea before you risk millions of dollars or lives on an application, and the grades tell you what concepts you don’t quite understand yet, when your boss would just fire you for a mistake.

And yet for a lot of people, being a good corporate citizen won’t be success. But what really is success? We’ve try to boil it down to a number, a GPA, a salary, whatever, but that number is not what you learn in university, in any school, in life, nor is it really success, just a sad proxy. And while I can’t define success for you, I can tell you what really makes a human, according to Pratchett.

Strength enough to build a home,
Time enough to hold a child,
Love enough to break a heart.

Written Gems: NaNo-Not-Mo

NaNoWriMo ends tomorrow, and all I’ve been able to write is about how I can’t write.

I’ve been trying to write a book since I discovered the library and the English Language. I’ve been trying to do National Novel Writing Month since I discovered it existed in 2010. I have yet to succeed.

I thought I’d be free this month. I thought I’d have time to write. 2014 would be my year.  But then this happened, and that happened. I discovered a new game and there was always another assignment, another report, another group project, until bam.

It’s November 30th, and I’ve written exactly 849 words of a supremely narcissistic piece of crap.

It’s supposed to be a memoir of my life. My life? Hah. I’ve lived twenty some odd years and I haven’t done anything interesting except be born in another country. In a country of immigrants, it ain’t that special. How’s that going to read? Why did I think for a second that would be interesting?

And yet the sad thing is that it is more interesting than anything else I’ve been able to write so far. Besides one disastrous experiment of a finished novel in grade 7 (which you can resurrect if you look hard enough, but please don’t), I haven’t been able to complete anything. Every time I try, they become…. too.

Too not right. Too not wrong enough. My male characters are too wooden, and my female characters are too caricatured. This world is too simple. That world is too complex. One plot is too twisted. Another plot is too straight-forward. One scene is too detailed. Another is too plain. It’s all just too, which is worst than it just being twee.

With this memoir, as plain and dull and as uninteresting as it might be, it’s been the first project I’ve felt like I can continue. I won’t ever get stuck for a plot, because it’s already happened. I won’t ever have to worry about crafting characters, because they’re already crafted themselves. I’ve gone back to writing fanfiction, playing with someone else’s sand castle because mine keep falling back into the ocean.

I think I’ve learned two important things this NaNoWriMo, despite having written hardly anything (I haven’t even set up my novel profile). First of all, I don’t have the luxury of waiting for writing time. I write when I can, when I have words, not when I have time.

Second of all, I’m going to go back to prefab. I started writing by borrowing other people’s characters, and I was excited about that. I wrote pages and pages on that. They weren’t very good pages, but they were pages. I think that I started to drift away from it because I decided that now I was getting older and more mature, I should be making my own. But maturity is not something conferred by age, and in this area, I am still a tiny babe in arms. So I’m going to go back to using characters who have already developed, and write about things that have happened, when I don’t have to make up a world or a plot or anything else, and I can just be a story teller, not a world builder or an omniscient god. Maybe some day, I’ll move back to fantasy. Someday.

All I want to do right now is to write.

Written gems are pieces of my life, polished and shined up a bit. Read more here.

Written Gems: Sketches of a Frustrated Writer

I want to write again.

But when I reach to put word in front of word, phrase in front of phrase, it slips away from me. I delete, and delete again, because nothing, nothing I write seems fit to see the light of day.

If I were still a chicken scratching on paper, I would have laid so many paper eggs of failure. Instead, I leave those stupid, trite, idiotic phrases on the page because I am frightened of nothing, having nothing to show that I can create, that I am still alive.

I am afraid of a blinking line and white space.

My old eloquence is a cloak too moth-eaten by time and misuse that it it might as well be a hanky for all the good it will do. I have no clever turns of phrase to arm myself with, no similes to direct like a veteran general, no metaphors to shelter my trembling, creative soul under. Nothing.

It’s naked. It’s withered. It’s dry.

It’s nothing.

I try to reassure myself that I am still creative, that I can still create. I’ve been knitting, crocheting, drawing. I have a whole bag and half a shawl to prove that I am not a great big fraud.

Liar.

Everything I’ve done has been a facsimile of someone else’s work. I want to build iridescent castles on glass mountains with my bare hands, like I used to, but all I can do now is build cheap little copies of suburban cardboard boxes following someone else’s pattern. I can do nothing, nothing of my own.

I feel like I am back in preschool, trying to build towers out of three lopsided wooden triangles no one else wants. Instead of rough plastic and the click of keys, I feel worn varnish and the thunk of wood on wood (knock knock) under my fingers. Instead of musty college student, I smell five-year-olds, fresh tears and stale piss. Instead of tasting that I’m too lazy to get dinner, I savour the hope of jam sandwiches for lunch. Instead of fearing emptiness and failure, I fear nothing, nothing at all.

I was so determined to make that tower, even if I only had three triangles. In the end, I laid them on their sides and laid down too. There. The tower was taller than I was, even if it was tall in the wrong direction.

Then it was clean up time, and they put my tower away. But I had done it. I still remember it. Given mediocre talent, mediocre inspiration, mediocre materials, I had still built the damn thing. Given mediocre talent, mediocre inspiration, mediocre material, I have still written this damn thing.

It’s something, something after all.

Foxy Insights: What Canadians (and the Rest of the World) Can Learn From Ferguson

Social media campaigns and hashtag activism have usually been derided as a load of crock by venerable and wise observers, and most of the time, they are right. When raising awareness really can do some good, however, that is when hashtag activism works. The ALS Ice Bucket challenge and Ferguson, Missouri, are two campaigns sweeping social media right now, and both are very successful, in their own way.

The Ice bucket challenge has raised $70.2 million dollars (and counting) dollars for ALS research. Basically, the idea is that if you get challenged, you have to either dump some ice cold water over yourselves or donate 100$ to combat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, AKA Motor Neurone Disease, AKA Lou Gehrig’s disease (read more and donate here). While I haven’t been challenged (and really can’t right now due to tight student budget plus ongoing surgical complications) and I really want to roll my eyes at the whole thing, it has accomplished its mission of raising money and awareness for a truly terrifying disease (Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom touches on it, and is an excellent read), with the bonus of not being offensive or hypocritical like the whole NFL pink ribbon, so I can’t be too cynical.

Ferguson, on the other hand, has succeeded in a very different way in raising awareness. Again, for those of you living under a rock, Michael Brown, a young black man, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white cop, in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday August 9th. Protests have been on going, and all kinds of conversations have been renewed, over excessive police militarization, and especially systemic racism. What’s really interesting about #ferguson is that we observers get to see the point of view that we don’t usually get to see: that of the black community, the “rioters”, the wronged. They’ve been challenging police reports (keeping them honest? Maybe? Although I suspect the truth, per usual, is somewhere in the middle), and creating a national conversation that very much needs to happen.

As Canadians, we sit very comfortably back and watch, but like the rest of the world, we assume what’s happening in America is a uniquely American phenomenon, made in Murica. That racial strife is something that we don’t have to worry about, not in the civilised regions where we live, because of our charter and great history of human rights.

Oh really?

On August 20th, 2014, 15-year-old Tina Fountaine was found floating in the Red River, like the 1017 murdered or missing aboriginal women between 1980 and 2012. Her body has sparked calls yet again, for a study as to why so many aboriginal women end up dead. If you don’t think 1017 is a lot of people (first of all, screw you), think of it this way: Part of the reason notorious pig farmer and murderer Robert Picton managed to get away with it for so long was because a lot of his victims were aboriginal women, and the Vancouver Police Department failed to act due to systemic bias. Canadian aborigines account for about 4.3% of the population, but account for 16% of murdered females.

Yeah. Let that sink in for a bit.

And yet our glorious leader doesn’t think there’s cause for concern. Nor does his right-hand, sexist unmentionable whose nominally in charge of these things (In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of either Stephen Harper or Peter McKay, the Canadian Justice Minister, for various reasons detailed here for Stephen Harper and Peter McKay because he seems incredibly out of touch, in my opinion, which hasn’t been improved by this debacle). They probably just don’t want another report telling them they’ve done something wrong.

Now, admittedly, it’s not systemic violence against a disadvantaged group, like it is in America, but according to the UN, it’s a crisis. It’s systemic ignorance about a disadvantaged group, which can be infinitely more dangerous because we pretend it doesn’t exist. Violence against women is only part of the problem, sadly enough. Aborigines as a whole in Canada tend to be less educated, poorer, in poorer health, lack basic necessities on reserves, more likely to become alcoholics or substance abusers, and more likely to become convicts or the victims of crimes, and we, the rest of Canada, are by in large ignorant of the issues.

I’m not asking you to carry the white man’s burden here, or pay for the sins of our forefathers or whatever. For one thing, I’m not white, nor am I a man, and my forefathers certainly weren’t involved in defrauding natives of their land. I am, however, very proudly Canadian. I am asking you as Canadians to be aware and to be mindful of these issues, and most of all, to be humble. We may live in a country of free healthcare, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and tolerance, but we still have our social gaps to bridge.

That’s the lesson that Ferguson has to offer the rest of the world, Canadians included: this is what happens when you let biases become too ingrained, too systemic. This is what happens when the social gap becomes too wide.

Foxy Insights is a series about a normal person’s view on everything, not necessarily sexy. Read more here.

Written Gem: Ode to Dandelions

Now that I’m not working in a downtown core any more, I’ve been relishing the ten minute walk through suburbia to my morning classes, even if it’s obscenely early by night owl university standards. Not only do I feel virtuous for getting in this (admittedly brief) exercise in (at least!) twice a day, I’m really enjoying the scenery.

You see, Mother Nature has graciously allowed Canada to escape from one of our two seasons, Winter, and ushered us into our second one, Construction. As the choking dust comes with sunshine and blue skies (being necessary for the work), and the loud noise gives me an excuse not to work during the day, I’m thoroughly enjoying this season. But my favourite part of the season are the flowers.

My love affair with flowers is a life long affair, one that quite literally started in the cradle with my name flower, which was also my grandfather’s favourite flower. I love the bright, cheerful bursts of colours, I love the their sweet scents, and most of all, I love the smile they put on everyone’s faces (mine most of all). If I’ve inherited my mom’s green thumb, I fully plan on creating an extravagantly smelly flower garden that she would probably turn her nose up at, my mom’s pride and joy being her vegetable garden that I hope my mint hasn’t strangled yet. But as I love lilacs, and orchids, and peonies, and lilies, and most of all, roses (I have an especial fondness for the coral pink ones) and as I’m blessed with no allergies (except for a really weird metal one across the bridge of my nose), I see no reason not to enjoy burying my nose in flowers and indulging that habit whenever practical.

I can’t do this in the morning, being a habitual night-owl, and thus usually late to my morning classes. But there are little white tree flowers (No, I am not a science student, I am a Math one for a reason) that always make me smile, and a general profusion of green with little bits of colour peeping out makes me want to throw my books away and engage in a treasure hunt (and hope I end up finding more than last night’s solo cups. I do live in a University Town). On the way home, I do enjoy indulging in a bit of a treasure hunt and smell the lilacs hidden in that cul-de-sac, and the roses stuffed in a wine bottle on my desk (I know, so cultured, right?).

But all the showy, fragrant blooms aside, dandelions hold a certain special place in my heart. They’re not smelly or especially extravagant, but they’re so bright and cheerful, and they’re everywhere, this time of year, including all through the park I walk through to get home. To me (since I don’t own a perfectly manicured lawn), a field of blooming dandelions an invitation to roll around in sunshine (which, due to my dignified and advanced years and more respect for my sartorial standards, I can’t do any more, but I wish I could). And I love when they go to seed. Instead of an invitation to roll around in sunshine, it’s an invitation to make a million wishes, and that’s an invitation I do take up. My boyfriend laughs himself silly over me stopping a conversation to run through a field, which I do regularly while the fields last.

Because they’re everywhere, dandelions are also memory markers for me. They mark when my dad was trying to teach me how to ride a bike by basically just pushing me down a grassy hill of dandelions yelling “Peddle! Peddle!” at me. They were there when my mom laughed her head off at the face I made when I accidentally chewed on dandelion leaves instead of the more edible leaves she was trying to teach me to forage (In the case of a zombie apocalypse, my family is the first people I’d like to have on my team. Sorry dearheart). They were there when I played games like making innocent, virginal floral crowns, or the “Do you like butter?” judgements and the more blood thirsty “Mary had a baby and her head popped off” one. Dandelions are a metaphorical smorgasboard to me; signifying innocence and mischief, childhood and sunshine, mistakes and perfection, perseverance and ephemeralities.

Recently, though, I came home from school to find the mat of yellow dandelions in our front yard had been mowed down by a house management company that doesn’t believe in fields of sunshine. I was really looking forward to the twirling bit. But then, upon closer inspection, I realize that the field of dandelions had actually been hiding a field of clovers and was immediately subsumed by the urge to sit down then and there (in the middle of the day in broad daylight) and look for a four leaf clover. My schedule being what it is, I didn’t, but clovers last longer than dandelions, so it’s there for me in the future, when I get a breath or the world was a little too insane. I’m sure there’s a metaphor buried somewhere in there, about luck being hidden or perserverence leads to luck or something, but really, it’s just a nice image.

I suppose that’s why I’m writing this post, even though I have so much work to do. I have a hundred tests to write, a thousand assignments to finish, and a million notes to make, but I’m pounding away on this keyboard anyway, writing about trivialities, because I badly need to. I need to remember the sunshine and blue skies that I rarely see because my nose is constantly in the grindstone. I need to cling to childhood memories of fun and play when all I can remember is the never-ending slog of work. And most of all, I need to roll around in the fields of sunshine and wishes in my heart while my mind is buried in the fields of papers and books.

Written gems are pieces of my life, polished and shined up a bit. Read more here.